Each week the Orange County Public Health Department reports to the state the incidence of various infectious diseases in the county. The following table details a selection of these afflictions for January, the most recent month for which information is available:
NUMBER OF CASES January January 1988-'89 Disease 1989 1988 % Change Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 22 11 +100 (AIDS) Campylobacter 13 19 -32 Lapse of consciousness 99 115 -14 (non-alcohol related) Giardiasis 40 30 +33 Gonococcal infection 109 213 -49 Hepatitis A 28 37 -24 Hepatitis B 27 14 +93 Meningitis 9 22 -59 Salmonellosis 23 28 -18 Shigellosis 27 20 +35 Streptococcal infection 422 137 +208 Syphilis 49 40 +23 Tuberculosis 21 8 +163
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome: Fatal disease that attacks the body’s immune system. Is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. Transmitted by sexual contact, exposure to contaminated blood and from an infected mother to her newborn.
Campylobacter: Characterized by sudden, acute diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and vomiting. Associated with foods poorly refrigerated or improperly cooked, unpasteurized milk and unchlorinated water.
Giardiasis: A protozoan infection principally of the upper small intestine. May be associated with a variety of intestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps and bloating, fatigue and weight loss. Contracted by ingesting contaminated food or water.
Gonococcal infections: Sexually transmitted bacterial diseases that differ in males and females in terms of course, severity and recognition.
Hepatitis A: An acute viral illness affecting the liver. Occurs mostly in children and young adults. Usually transmitted by oral ingestion of infected material or by poor sanitation.
Hepatitis B: An acute illness of the liver transmitted by exposure to contaminated needles, by administration of blood or blood products and/or oral ingestion of contaminated material.
Meningitis: Inflammation of the three membranes enveloping the brain and spinal chord.
Salmonellosis: A bacterial disease characterized by the sudden onset of a headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and fever. Contracted by eating contaminated food.
Shigellosis: Acute diarrhea acquired by person-to-person contact, through eating contaminated food or by handling contaminated objects.
Streptococcal infection: Often manifested as strep throat or scarlet fever. A sphere-shaped bacteria that grows like chains of little balls.
Syphilis: A chronic venereal disease caused by a spirochete and transmitted by sexual intercourse. The first symptom, a chancre, appears after an incubation period of 12 to 30 days and is followed by a slight fever.
Tuberculosis: A mycobacterial disease that usually affects the lungs. General symptoms include sweats, hectic fever and severe weight loss.
Sources: Orange County Public Health Department, “Reported Cases of Specified Notifiable Diseases,” for January, 1989.
“Control of Communicable Diseases In Man,” an official report of the American Public Health Assn., Abram S. Benenson, editor, 1985, 4th edition.
“Better Homes and Gardens Family Medical Guide,” Donald G. Cooley, editor, 1973, 2nd edition.
“The Bantam Medical Dictionary,” prepared by Laurence Urdang Associates Ltd., 1982.
“Stedman’s Medical Dictionary,” Williams and Wilkins Co., 1973, 22nd edition.